It’s clear province has no Olympic enthusiasm
To no fanfare, Team
Notley hands over some Olympic dough.
The news comes by way of a simple press release.
Notley doesn’t come down to Calgary. We see no staged hullabaloo with political bigshots of all stripes mugging for the camera.
This is not like the Green Line LRT announcement where you could hear the self-congratulation blocks away.
Notley knows this Olympic file is no winner for her.
This is shaping up as a battle between insiders looking for a party and outsiders who usually let insiders take what they want.
On this day, the Notley government tells us they will give the Olympics $700 million if Calgarians vote Yes.
But that’s $300 million less than what the city wanted.
The Alberta government goes on. It’s painfully obvious they have little enthusiasm for this Olympic bid.
For that matter, there is little enthusiasm among opposition politicians.
Few who have power or want power will mourn this bid’s death but no one wants to do the killing.
That will be up to Calgarians Nov. 13 when the city gets to say No in a vote the province forced the city to hold.
More bad news for the Yes side.
The Alberta government will not provide any more than $700 million. If coin coming in to the Olympics is less than projected, tough luck.
If there are costs overruns, that’s not the province’s problem.
To make it crystal clear, the Alberta government says they “will not be providing any form of guarantee for additional costs arising from any source.”
And, as Premier Notley said in this column days ago, the Olympic bid corporation will have to be more open, no matter what city hall, a.k.a. the Cowtown Kremlin, thinks.
If the Olympics wants the $700 million, then they will be subject to the province’s more open laws on how much the public can know.
This is something Calgary’s city council didn’t want, those folks with a fetish for closed-door gabfests and floggings of outof-line councillors.
And, to top it off, city council won’t be able to play any tricks. A No vote means no dough. The city politicians can’t overrule a No vote.
On Friday afternoon,
Take Out The Trash Day for politicians who dump the stuff they hope people won’t read over the weekend, a newshound asks
NDP budget boss Smilin’ Joe Ceci about a shortfall.
The city expected the province to cough up $1 billion and they only managed $700 million.
There’s a shortfall of $300 million. Oh me, oh my.
“I’m not here to talk about how the shortfall gets met,” says Ceci, making a rare frowny comment.
For his part, Nenshi says he needs to analyze the Notley government document. It’s six paragraphs long.
The mayor needs to talk more to Ottawa and he’ll have more to say soon.
You can be sure he’s looking for several rabbits to pull out of the hat. Funny thing.
Can still remember the city’s top gun on finances tell city council their next four-year budget is not one “where you can add a whole bunch of new things.”
The city has to do something now and they hate the sight of scissors.
Meanwhile, it looks more and more like Calgary might end up the only Olympic bid in the race.
Italy’s bid is in trouble and those running Stockholm city council just mouthed the following words: “The starting point for all our parties is to ensure a Winter Olympics should not be on the taxpayers to pay for it.”
Yes, when the dust settles it just might be Calgary. The only one left standing to win the booby prize.
Everybody else will have dropped out or voted No, but the International Olympic Committee are betting on Calgarians to say
Yes in a month’s time.
They’ve surely sized the city up like the salesman who picks the one mark in the crowd who will buy the snake oil everyone else sees as hokum.
Jeromy Farkas is a councillor who has fought to protect taxpayers and thinks the Olympic bid has now been given the kiss of death.
Between the city and Trudeau they have to find $2.3 billion or cut the Olympics down even more.
“If the NDP haven’t killed the bid with this, they’ve arranged the firing squad,” says Farkas.
Sean Chu is the councillor who fought for openness and a plebiscite when others on council ridiculed their former whipping boy.
Chu says when Calgarians look at this whole deal, many will have one response.
No one in power (or seeking it) would be saddened by wants to put the Calgary 2026 Olympic bid out of its misery, writes Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell.